Between 1780 and 1850 the 9 children, 45 grandchildren, and at least 245 great-grandchildren of John Essery and Sarah Hester Clark helped populate the midwestern United States, especially Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri. Some migrated as far west as Gold Rush California. John and Hester’s son Jonathon Davis Essery/Esarey/Esrey (1783-1858) moved from Kentucky to Oil Township of Perry County, Indiana in 1810, where many Esarey descendants live today and where the First Annual Reunion was held in 1910 and every year since then. Now, after six, seven, or eight generations, spellings of the name have diverged into three main modes (Esarey, Esry, and Esrey) and descendants of John Essery and Sarah Hester Clark are all over the United States and throughout the world. And, of course, the vast majority of these descendants of John Essery and Sarah Hester Clark have other surnames.
Esarey, Esrey, and Esry are derivative spellings (see chart of spelling divergence) known to have emerged from John Essery’s line since he came to Kentucky from the east. The connection to families spelling their name Essary is more of a mystery but is thought to not be too distant, with the families parting ways before 1780. In the early 1780s John and Sarah’s family moved west and settled on Doe Run in today’s Meade County, Kentucky. Meanwhile Essary ancestors moved west through Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, with many ending up in Tennessee and Missouri.